7 Gorgeous Gardens To Experience In San Diego

1. San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas

The garden is filled with birds and butterflies. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars!


Wander through the primeval-looking Palm Canyon, the verdant Tropical and Temperate Rainforest, and the African Garden.

2. Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden

And The Desert Garden, Balboa Park


The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden and the adjacent Desert Garden couldn’t be more different. One offers color and fragrance, with a fountain in the middle; the other, prickly textures in a variety of shapes. But they’re both an excellent place for finding beauty and an escape from the crowds in Balboa Park.

3. Dave’s Rock Garden, Encinitas

With more than 7,000 painted rocks, Dave’s Rock Garden is brimming with inspiration and whimsy.


The small lot at the corner of Second and B Streets in Encinitas is a riot of colorful stones with commemorative names and dates, words of wisdom, or detailed, handpainted pictures.

When you’re done visiting the garden, head for the beach! Moonlight State Beach is just two blocks away. A large lot at the top of the hill and up Third Street provides parking.

4. Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park

Almost hidden in Balboa Park is a place where waterfalls tumble, vividly orange and white koi fish swim lazily, and cherry trees bloom along winding paths


Bright liquid notes of birdsong fill the air as the persistent hum of traffic fades into the background. The 12-acre Japanese Friendship Garden is a true San Diego gem that celebrates natural beauty and inspires serenity.

5. Alcazar Garden, Balboa Park

A floral oasis in Balboa Park. Tucked neatly between the Mingei International Museum and the Museum of Us, the garden seems removed from the world.


It’s a lovely spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

Formal boxwood hedges frame tiled fountains and a vibrant display of more than 7,000 annual flowers.

6. Lucy Evans Lauren Memorial Garden, Point Loma

San Diego philanthropist George Lauren created this quiet public garden to honor his late wife


Set on a residential street in the Point Loma neighborhood, the park is well off the beaten path. You may find you have the gazebo and grassy pathways all to yourself.

Walk down Lucinda Street toward San Diego Bay for expansive, Instagram-worthy views.

7. Balboa Park Botanical Building

During World War II, soldiers learned to swim in the reflecting pond.

Seasonal displays and more than 2,100 varieties of palms, cycads, ferns, and orchids draw more than 500,000 visitors every year. It’s a jungle in there, albeit a well-kept, elegant one with paved paths for strolling and benches for soaking up the leafy atmosphere. Watch for blooming orchids in amongst all the green areas. Admission is free.

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